‘Not yet enough demand for green buildings in Metro’

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THERE is strong and growing interest in green buildings in Metro Manila, but the demand is not yet enough to drive developers to prioritize ‘sustainable’ developments, a real estate analyst said last week.

“We are seeing a surge in interest for green developments in Metro Manila, but the level of demand may not be enough of an incentive for developers to build more of such or prioritize this type of development,” Claro Cordero Jr., head of research, consultancy and valuation at Jones Lang Lasalle Philippines, said in a text message last week.

But Jan Custodio, senior director for global research and consultancy at CBRE Philippines, said green buildings
might be the norm in the future.

“This may become the norm for future buildings to be constructed. Developers may aim for achieving the minimum requirement needed for the building to be classified as ‘green’,” Custodio said in an email to The Manila Times last week.


Cordero noted that increased interest in green buildings is driven by the growing awareness of the benefits that these developments offer.

“The increasing demand for sustainable developments is brought about by the increasing awareness of the long-term benefits of employing sustainable practices in property development and as a substitute for corporate social responsibility practices (for corporate occupiers, foremost of which are multinational companies),” the analyst said.

Meanwhile, David Leechiu, chief executive officer of Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC), said green buildings are seen to benefit businesses because they increase employee productivity.

“Not only do green buildings help the environment recover, but they also present businesses and tenants with economic benefits that make for excellent investment,” Leechiu said in an earlier statement.

Leechiu cited separate studies from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the World Green Building Council, noting that green spaces improve employee productivity because of better indoor air quality and ventilation, thermal comfort and noise reduction.

Custodio said green buildings also benefit developers because they ensure the high quality and durability of their developments.

“On the developer side, adhering to the building guidelines for ‘green’ classification would ensure that the structures to be built were above standard and because it is such, would ensure the durability of the building and its facilities,” Custodio said.

“Likewise, adhering to the building guidelines would ensure that the building will be operated efficiently and eventually result into substantial savings for the developer,” added the real estate analyst.

The rise of green building rating systems in the country is another proof that interest in sustainable developments is on the rise.

A recent entrant is the Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) rating system, created by the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, which targets emerging markets.

Developers have already expressed interest in having their developments certified by EDGE, according to Philippine Green Building Initiative (PGBI) vice president for administration and operations Ramon Aguilos.

“We’re surprised [that]some are already asking proposals to have their buildings certified,” Aguilos said in an earlier interview.

IFC has partnered with PGBI, which authorizes the latter to certify EDGE projects in the country.

EDGE-certified projects in the country include Primavera Residences condominium towers A and B in Cagayan de Oro by Italpinas Development Corporation, Imperial Homes for the affordable housing units Tiarra Premiere and Delsey in Santo Tomas, Batangas and the socialized housing project Strikeville 4 in Cavite by Phinma Property Holdings Corporation.

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